Last Thursday Victoria’s infrastructure strategy 2021-2051 was presented to the Victorian Parliament for tabling. Infrastructure is an independent advisory body that prepares a 30-year infrastructure strategy for Victoria which provides infrastructure recommendations to foster a thriving and sustainable Victoria for the future. These strategies are refreshed every three to five years and in the updated 2021 infrastructure strategy –which total recommendations amount to a capital cost of approximately $100 billion – the recommendations aim to address the state’s most pressing challenges relating to infrastructure, namely rapid population growth and a changing climate.
The updated infrastructure strategy lists 94 recommendations in total, for projects, policies and reforms spanning a variety of infrastructure types. Some of the biggest projects, which are also expected to provide the biggest opportunities to Victoria’s built environment space if actioned, are listed below:
The aim of the City Loop Reconfiguration (CLR) project will aim to provide more cross city-suburban metro rail services for growing areas in the north and south-east of Melbourne and the growing northern corridor, including the Upfield and Craigieburn lines and into Mitchell Shire, including future electrification towards Wallan. To increase capacity, Infrastructure Victoria recommends redesigning two of the four tunnels in the City Loop to allow more trains to travel through the city and continue to the other side. This will not only help to increase capacity, allow more services to operate on key train lines and increase overall reliability across the network.
According to Infrastructure Victoria, the state’s population is forecast to grow to 10.8 million by 2051, while the population of Melbourne’s ‘fringe’ outer-northern and western suburbs will increase to over 800,000 people in that time (Jenkins, S. 2021). Consequently, Melbourne’s key infrastructure needs to be able to support this growth. Infrastructure Victoria recommends upgrading the Western Rail Corridor by providing a metro-style train line for the growing communities in the western growth corridor (Point Cook, Tarneit, Laverton) as well as providing additional train services in the south-eastern growth corridor (Dandenong, Cardinia, Casey). Infrastructure Victoria believes that this project is the logistical next step to the already committed project aimed at increasing capacity on the V/Line trains along the Melton corridor to the west. According to Infrastructure Victoria, the increased rail lines along the outer-northern and western suburbs will benefit regional Victoria, as it will relieve the overcrowding on lines currently travelling to and from regional centres that pass through these ‘hot spot’ areas including Geelong and Ballarat.
In an effort to improve accessibility to those travelling to jobs from outer areas into the central city and support the population and economic growth in Geelong, Infrastructure Victoria recommends more work done to prepare for the construction of Melbourne Metro Two; a second underground rail tunnel linking Clifton Hill and Newport which has been a priority for the last few years. These preparation tactics include separating the Werribee and Williamstown/Laverton-Sandringham trains so that they’re not sharing the same tracks from Newport to the city. This allows for less congestion, better frequency and improved reliability for commuters while the Metro Two tunnel is being constructed. Another suggested preparation tactic is to build new station(s) at Fisherman’s Bend where the new metro tunnel will travel through in order to relieve future pressure on the public transport network.
Ultimately, Infrastructure Victoria believes their list of suggested measures to help prepare for the construction of the Metro Two tunnel will help the efficient completion of the city-shaping project, which in turn will provide a significant uplift in rail services and provide urban renewal opportunities in key precincts.
Despite making up only 7% of the Victorian road network, Melbourne’s motorways carry approximately 40% of road traffic and support between four and five million trips daily! (Infrastructure Victoria, 2021) Consequently, Infrastructure Victoria propose a cross-city motorway and connection to be built between West Gate Tunnel, CityLink and the Eastern Freeway. This is believed to ease congestion and better facilitate travel for people and freight across the inner north of Melbourne. While this connection doesn’t necessarily need to be prioritised in the immediate future, Infrastructure Australia advises that the corridor is protected so that the project can still be commenced within the next 15-20 years, as the population across the city continues to grow.
The Outer Metropolitan Ring Road and Rail Corridor (OMR) is a proposed major orbital high-speed transport link through Melbourne’s outer north and west, which will connect the Metropolitan Ring Road, Hume, Calder, Western and Princes Freeways. Currently, the road networks within Melbourne’s outer-western and northern suburbs aren’t developed enough to support the projected population growth within these key areas – especially when compared to Melbourne's inner-city suburbs which have a range of road network options. The OMR is believed to resolve this by reducing road network and freight congestion, increasing access to the labour force and improving freight connectivity. The project is also predicted to benefit regional Victoria by allowing drivers/commuters to bypass Melbourne’s growing suburbs and established areas.
Now that the infrastructure strategy 2021-2051 has been released, the Victorian government will consider all opportunities presented within each recommendation and respond over the next 12 months. The last infrastructure strategy the advisory body presented was in 2016 and of the 137 recommendations presented in that roadmap, nearly 90% have since been completed or are already underway (Infrastructure Victoria, 2021). This suggests the majority of recommendations listed in the 2021-2051 roadmap are in with a good chance to receive the all-clear, providing more job opportunities for those within the built environment space – particularly engineering and construction.
To ensure you can keep on top of the latest opportunities as these projects are approved and actioned, or to reach out to our team of VIC consultants for a confidential chat about the job market generally – especially concerning the built environment– you can contact us here:
 Jenkins, Shannon. (2021). Infrastructure Victoria proposes $100 billion worth of projects to government. The Mandarin. Retrieved from: https://www.themandarin.com.au/166387-infrastructure-victoria-proposes-100-billion-worth-of-projects-to-government/
 Infrastructure Victoria. (2021). Protect The Option For A Cross-City Motorway. Infrastructure Victoria. Retrieved from: https://www.infrastructurevictoria.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Fact-sheet-Cross-city-motorway.pdf
 Infrastructure Victoria. (2021). Victoria’s Infrastructure Strategy 2021- 2051. Infrastructure Victoria. Retrieved from: https://www.infrastructurevictoria.com.au/project/30-year-strategy/